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Brian Kirby

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It has been apparent for some time past that the underpinnings of this forum are struggling technically, and that it is ceasing to work as needed if it is to remain useful. 

It is also apparent that "Motorhome Matters" is by far the most popular Forum among those currently run by Warners.  I am therefore placing this post in Motorhome matters, with apologies to all for the "off topic", in the hope that it is where most will see it.

Presently, as we all know, the search function barely works at all, and posting has become a lottery, with multiple posts resulting from erroneous messages from the "servers", and more than a few posts simply never appearing after "pressing" Submit.

I value this Forum, and am grateful to Warners for providing, and continuing to provide, this service.  I have learnt much from other contributors over the past several years, and would like to continue doing so into the future. 

Having said that, I would observe that the previous version of the Forum, which restricted access to subscribers to MMM, or to casual buyers via a code published in each edition, had a generally better focus than is now the case and, from my motorhomer's viewpoint, was the better for it.

Be that as it may, it seems to me that a shake up, or shake out, of some sort is now overdue.  I do not know what causes the present problems, but it seems it should either be put out of its misery permanently, revert to more restricted access if the problems are due to over-subscription, or re-engineered (which I accept may well be expensive) so that it works as it used to work.

To be clear, I am not calling for more forums to be added, (because in many ways I think there are already too many, just look at the numbers of threads running on some), nor for more "bells and whistles" to be added.  Just for the existing to be made to work so that posts can be reliably posted and retrieved, and valuable information retained in a FAQ section to prevent endless repetition of the same questions.

Do others suffer the same feelings of frustration as I do at present?  Could a statement to be issued by Warners concerning its future?  Presently, it rather seems it is just being left to wither on the vine.

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As I only came to the forum 5 or 6 years ago, I'm unaware of how it used to be. The 'search' has always been rather unproductive for me, but I gather from Mel B that I wasn't using it properly.

In my ignorance, I'm happy with the present format.

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Hi Brian

I have to agree the search is getting frustrating & very difficult, it needs some attention.

It appears Warners' are updating the Site finder (Motorhomes, Your Views Posted: 22 January 2010 3:19 PM Subject: Website improvements)


If the moderators are improving the search criteria on that element of the site, IMHO it would appear an opportune time to apply an upgrade to the Forums search engine also.


Other than the search and the odd spat, I like most find the Motorhome Forum both useful & informative.

Not sure about restricting use to subscribers as I would prefer to have as many users as possible & I suspect Warners would like to see it as an opportunity of increasing sales.

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I liked the old forum, just the one, no bells and no whistles. A place where the only engines powered vehicles which had wheels that ran on the ground! A place where those who share an interest in motorhomes can gather and natter about almost anything. Just like in the pub or the school playground.


But then again I never did like being organised in my leisure persuits!






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But Warners don't just publish magazines on motorhoming they also publish two caravanning magazines and there seems to be a third magazine which deals with both so why make it exclusive to readers of MMM? I can see why there seem to be so few non motorhome owners that post here or if they do don't seem to stay around for long if they do. I can't say that this forum has a serious difficulty with 'problem posters' which might be one reason for restricting access but this is really a moderating issue. My view, which I have expressed before, and got shot down for is the majority of motorhome owners just post in the Motorhome Matters part of the forum when some of these posts are of general interest should actually be elsewhere on the forum. Again this is an issue of moderation and to the contrary of the view expressed by Brian there should be more sections so that posts can go in the correct place. Now I have seen some people say they only look a this section but all they have to do is click on 'new threads' and they can see all or ignore all if they wish.

If the suggestion is that this should be a motorhome forum only that would be fine but it needs to change its name to reflect that and those of us who are not motorhomers can contribute elsewhere on more inclusive forums.




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I've just tried for ages to find a thread that was running last week. No results.


Regarding content most of the comments are valid even if they get side tracked.


As some are aware I've changed name several times due to insults aimed my way. Its not necessary and certainly not interesting. Personal arguments can be carried on by PM's but when I did complain to one member via his PM he decided to throw his insults at me in public, quite un-called for.


From a forest of trees a few saplings reach daylight while others rot away®


I find the whole forum experience quite OK. One doesn't have to read it or reply. I'm not a buyer or reader of any magazines so I find all the info on here welcome.


libby. bill. mike. jon, or whoever you care to name.






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As usual, Brian has contributed a lengthy post of great intelligence. In my opinion the moderators are simply not doing their job and ignoring the views of the majority of regular users. In addition to a couple of minor posts on this issue I have also sent them a PM but have not had the courtesy of a reply.
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I quite like this forum because it feels more friendly but agree with Brian its a bit creaky.


I also keep tabs on a couple of others , one is a subscription based forum and has adverts all over it but its has reems of posts and has sub sections galore (probably too many). I want to get straight to the forums and involved not be bombarded by adverts.


However I think that this site could do with one or two more subsections to split out things like Technical / Mechanical topics or site info. I also think that some topics degenerate into personal conversations and therefore loose some of their ability to keep my attention (no comments please !! ). So better house keeping by the site owners / administrators probably seems a good starting point to begin to improve , with maybe an easier way for people to hold web chats away from the main threads.


My feeling though is that because this is free nothing will happen , the same problems as detailed here have been complained about over on the Practical Caravan forums for years and Haymarket who run that have not done much to improve it.


Going back to the Subscribed forum , that recently had a overhaul and that is now much quicker but you have to pay for that service


So we have a choice - free and creaky , pay and slick.


** Brian - bravo for taking time to start the revolution on this , lets hope it has a positive affect. ;-)

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I remember the old forum and I did post to it It was found via www.mmmonline.co.uk which gives a clue to what it was about.


Since then it has migrated to here and other forums have been added.


The search facility is well known to be, at best, iffy and needs to be addressed.


The fact that these forums are not the main purpose of the website probably means that they are not staffed by full time employees but rather on an 'as and when' basis.


What the answer is I don't know but I don't think doing nothing is an option as the same questions will continue to be asked and answered thereby filling the servers and causing more problems.


Needs a radical re-think methinks. Perhaps archiving old threads with their own smaller search facility would help in the short term.



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The only failing that I see is the search facility.


If that worked as it should new members would probably still ask the same questions but rather than everyone answer it all over again the answer could be found by those who know where to look and what to look for and a link placed to it in any reply to the question.


I would not see that as detrimental to the forum population?


I've learned a lot on here - particularly about batteries and chargings - and I think the open and varied format with relaxed moderation works well.


All forums (forii?) go through peaks and troughs of popularity and this one seems to be fumbling a bit at the moment but it is a good forum with mostly good people and some quite interesting conversations at times - if only the search facility worked better!

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Klyne - 2010-04-06 10:55 PM ....I can see why there seem to be so few non motorhome owners that post here or if they do don't seem to stay around for long if they do.

Actually, I can't see this.  What do you think is the reason?

 My view, which I have expressed before, and got shot down for is the majority of motorhome owners just post in the Motorhome Matters part of the forum when some of these posts are of general interest should actually be elsewhere on the forum.

I agree, but that is what folk do!  Some just don't seem to read the forum titles, and some of the forum titles are highly ambiguous.

Again this is an issue of moderation and to the contrary of the view expressed by Brian there should be more sections so that posts can go in the correct place. .............. David

I have to say, based on present experience, that would seem likely to result in more, rather than less, misplaced posts.  :-) 

However, moderators continually tidying what goes where would mean more - I would think full time - moderation, which would push up costs.  That, in part, was why I thought fewer, better explained, choices might help.

There were, in reality, just two issues I raised.  First the search is pretty much kaput.  Second, actually getting just one post posted, as opposed to several, or no post at all, is becoming increasingly unreliable.  It is these I think need fixing. 

My point regarding restricting membership was whether the number of registered members is affecting the way the forum is working.  If it is, then restricting membership might make it work better, because it would reduce the numbers of potential authors.

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Brian has, as always given us a well reasoned argument re the Forum. I would miss it greatly if it was gone, I've had so much help from other members.


I've enjoyed some of the postings from caravanners who take the trouble to write about their travels.


The only thing I don't enjoy is the search facility as it's gone from bad to useless.

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Hello, Being "new" I do not have experience of the previous forum.


Being a "walker" and a "sometimes camper" I appreciate the other forums on this site.


I find this forum informative, interesting and at times entertaining, even when the occasional dummy has been thrown out. ( :-D )


I have never used the "Search engine" but accept that it needs sorting out if there is a problem.


I like the lack of adverts that an "Improved site" may throw at us.


In short, I like the site. It does depend on the "members" and their input and this may change as we "Travel" but this is the nature of the beast.


I am pleased that Brian has asked the "question" and hope that there are plenty of replies. It will should help to guide the way forward.



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hi all,

just gonna stick my 2 pennerth in, i havent been on here long but find this forum a mine of info, and i even enjoy reading the spats 8-)

what i do is trawl through each page an look at the titles of the posts its very long winded but hey its the only way (!) the search is rubbish

but i have thought of a solution...(and im not a IT person) i think it might work.. if the administrators or however make subsections or links of say posts/threads 6 months long then you would have say 6 years of posts (12 sections) each with there own search facility then the search does not have much to trawl through :D i dont think there would be much cost but i wouldn't know about that.

hope this makes sense

good thread Brian hope they take some notice


regarding your comment Brian of posting 2 or several times i have had no experience of this.. i just post wait a few seconds and dont touch anything and it goes back to the thread


in my opinion regarding the restricting of members i dont think having more members posting clogs or slows down the forum because the server who runs this forum has enough computing power to cope its probably just not using the right software for this big forum or the search facility...

but like ive said before im not an IT engineer so im probably posting a load of tosh




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The same questions can be off putting, but there's nothing like a personal reply and for some, a gaggle of words is mind boggling.


The advantage of a personal replies is that offshoots often occur leading to a different slant on the same question, also where members have taken the same advise and arrived at different answers.


If there were a simple "read it only" section it can limit the knowledge achieved. Many times we read of advise being applied followed by a further question.


This is the advantage of computers where we all become much wiser. Its a super wonderful system and how I wish I had had them at school instead of a small stub of chalk and a slate board where we spent all morning trying to shape the letter 'a'.


The forum progresses as it should and we should all be thankfull. Brian should not consider opting out or reverting to 'what was' for that is not progress. His comments provide a balance and are mostly correct.




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As you can see from my 'post count' I've made the odd post or two *-)

Only once that I can remember have I had a double post, this would sugest it is not nessarly a problem with the server, are people hitting the 'submit' button more than once if it appears not to work?

Must agree on search function, it rarely seems to work, a google seach works but the returns are not very well organised.

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The 'old' forum was of course (IMO) more of a question and answer bulletin board rather than a full Forum as we have here. Personally in some ways I preffered the 'subscribers' format though I don't think that that would have stopped some of the antics that have gone on here of late, only the format of the board would have stopped that.

The 'old' board was, again IMO, a bit 'stuffy' and mainly kept 'in check' by the (for sake of another word) 'bullying' of the site 'Elders' and needed a more open format and that of course meant a full and proper Forum where users can participate as they need.

What I believe has happened though with the openness is that, along with the general attitude that seems pravalant in wider life now days that there is, in some quarters, a lack of respect for others and others opinions and a belief that no one else can have a differing opinion. This is not uncommon on various forums (even those that have subscriptions they are just a bit better at hiding it from those that are not members!!) or in life in general and sometimes you just have to be a bit thick skinned and hope that the miscreants go away. I am not a believer in heavy moderation and like the way it is carried out on this site.

I too value this site and believe it is the best available for Motorhomers, of course it is free as well, I sincerely hope it does not whither on the vine.

With regards the search facility, although frustrating when trying to find older threads a little bit of courtesy to those trying to find out something, particularly new members, by those that remember or know about the things that are asked and helping the questioners would go a long way towards improving the tone of the Forum, far better than just a reply saying "This has been discussed on numerous.....blah blah... if you use the search facility....blah blah..."


As already said this is just my opinion, as asked for by Brian.



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further to what i posted before, i agree some of failings of this forum, has to be placed at the feet of the moderators, i am a moderator on a scuba diving forum, the people who come onto the forum know i am a moderator, i am also free to post or comment whatever i want, and when a thread starts to turn off topic or gets bitchy, a quick post by the moderator to calm down and get back to the topic ussually does the trick ;-)

the mods on here seem to think (and i say this in the nicest way) that you are old enough to moderate yourselves so they dont get involved :-S and they just pull threads in the hope that it stops the arguement/bitchin etc, but it doesnt have that effect.. because the resentment builds in the background and stays there for a long time, thus effecting the forum in the long term


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I think you have hit the nail on the head with that assesment of the old forum as a "question and answer bulletin board". Thats was why I liked it.

Although I am quite capable of churning out reams of waffle on many technical matters I have a very limited ability to absorb more than half a dozen lines of text to read on a forum. The eyes glaze over and the attention goes elsewhere. If the point being made cannot be made in one scentance then the writer perhaps needs to make it in a different way.


What do you think?




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Brian once again has come up with a very topical thread,

 I was drawn yes drawn to this forum as it was firstly FREE and packed with people who,s only object on the forum was to see you had the answer you required to solve your dilemma ,to help you in any way they could, Many with years of expertise in any given subject,it is now or is reputed to be moderated as it should be to prevent bullying and taunting of any person putting threads forward for discussion and answers,Being FREE it attracts many new comers to Motor homing who wish to ask questions which trouble /baffle them ,but being New comers they may not know of the Search system so put forward many questions once asked before ,Patients should be attributed to these new Members and answered as if a new request,as is only polite to do so, older members know which thread to chose to carry on any other discussion,As for limiting the forum to subscribers of MMM only,  would make it stale to in incoming threads and web surfers looking for answers to Motor homing problems . The beauty of this forum is it is open to all Motorhomes and Free, I wont subscribe to other Motorhome Forums as the interest is then towards income and not the interest of the Motorhome owners, Keep it Free just upgrade the search system, Perhaps this is a way of letting the Forum run down by not fixing the problems highlighted its down to Warners,   Safe Journeys All. 

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Okay, my thoughts for anyone who is interested:


1) Get the search facility to work properly please!


I like to try to help people and do so quite often I hope, but I spend an absolutely ridiculous amount of time sometimes, without getting a 'return' from the search facility, trying in vain to find stuff on the forums that I know is there that will help the person with the query, but am simply unable to track it down. Some of the postings from me and others have lots of useful info in them, and a lot of time was taken in making these original replies, but if you simply cannot find them when you want them again, what is the point? What I'm now doing is keeping a word document copy of postings, such as stuff on Cite Europe parking, dogs on ferries, pet passports etc so that I at least have something to post in detail, without having the frustrating time of trying to track down stuff on the forums. Far from an ideal solution, but the only one that works at times.


2) Lets have some 'official' moderation please


Whilst I don't have an issue with anyone having differing opinions or views to me, when things start to get personal or out of hand, then a bit of mild moderation, such as a little nudge to ask the person causing the uneasiness to consider how they are coming across, would stop a lot of the stuff developing into major problems. That's what has been missing for a long time and is why things get blown up and developing into massive 'events'.


3) Keep it open to all


If the forums are restricted to only those who purchase Warners publications, I think that a few 'old friends' will disappear and with them their knowledge and experience. The forum will be a much lesser place without them. It will also restrict the amount of 'new blood' joining in and, after all, without this 'new blood' the forums will get stagnant and boring. It is mostly the new members who ask the questions that we all like to answer (yes we do - be honest!), they also bring a new slant to things and also their own knowledge and experience to share with us too, not just on motorhome/caravan etc matters, but on other things too. The more members the merrier and the greater the knowledge base on many things.


The forums are not just restricted to the obvious categories, but include more general stuff too - how many people have asked 'non-motorhoming' questions, such as about pensions, tax, pet health, hospital stuff etc, etc and received useful answers?


Then there's the banter and chatter, some like it, some don't; it can really be fun and some real friendships have developed from the forums which I think is good, being able to meet up with forumites at shows etc is great and brings the forum to life. Members can offer support to others who, otherwise, would be solitary and isolated in their 'motorhome' (or other) life.


4) Benefit to Warners


Warners use postings off the forums in their MMM magazine (not sure about any other mags as I don't get them), so, in my humble opinion, if we are good enough to 'quote' and provide copy for the mag, then we should be given some 'support' on here, rather than just be left to 'fend' for ourselves, sometimes causing mayhem along the way! Warners promote the forums in the mag and direct readers here but if we didn't all 'do our bit' to keep them going, then the forums wouldn't exist.




I've been on the forums for many a year and remember the old version well! We can't go back to the way it was, that's not possible, and I don't think we should as that was a 'motorhome' forum, whereas now it is for a much more diverse group. But I do think that the forums need sorting out to get them to work better and that bl**dy search facility sorted once and for all.




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I would still like to know why only once I have had a double post and this was when I impatiantly hit the submit button twice, and others seen to regulary get multiple posts, are they hitting the submit button more than once?
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